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Politics and Government

Bill Calls For State Constitutional Convention

Delegates from the state's original constitutional convention pose for a group photo.

Oklahoma could see its first state constitutional convention in more than 40 years, if two state lawmakers get their way.

State Rep. Gary Banz, R-Midwest City and Sen. Kyle Loveless, R-Oklahoma City, are pushing a house resolution to ask voters whether or not to hold a constitutional convention.

The measure, House Joint Resolution 1020, would ask Oklahomans if they wanted to convene a constitutional convention on July 10, 2017.

The measure outlines how delegates would be selected and creates a commission to oversee the delegates' selection. The convention would be required to adjourn on June 30, 2018.

Records from the Secretary of State's office show the legislature hasn't placed a referendum before the public since March 17, 1970.

Oklahoma's constitution requires the legislature to ask the public if it wants to hold a constitutional convention every 20 years.

Oklahoma Watch is a nonprofit journalism organization that produces in-depth and investigative content on a range of public-policy issues facing the state. For more Oklahoma Watch content, go to www.oklahomawatch.org.
Oklahoma Watch is a nonprofit journalism organization that produces in-depth and investigative content on a range of public-policy issues facing the state. For more Oklahoma Watch content, go to www.oklahomawatch.org.

Loveless said Oklahoma's constitution needs to be updated and brought in line with the 21st Century.

"There are things in our constitution that are antiquated -- like specifying the flash-point of kerosene," he said. "Some of it is outdated and needs to be modernized."

"We haven't made the request in more than four decades," Loveless said. "Even though we're required to do so."

HJR 1020 has cleared the House of Representatives and is expected to be heard by a Senate Committee on April 8.

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